Daily news roundups

Union readying for KC, Junior Lone Star traveling to Puerto Rico, USWNT faces NZ, more

Photo: Daniel Studio

Philadelphia Union

A Union depleted by injuries and suspensions are on the road this weekend to Kansas City in search of their first win of 2015 (Sunday at 7 pm: Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes, Fox Sports Go). The latest injury report from the league notes:

OUT: M Cristian Maidana (left MCL sprain, DNP 3/29, did not train 4/1)
OUT: M Eric Bird (hernia repair recovery)
OUT: D Sheanon Williams (right hamstring strain)
OUT: F Conor Casey (right low ab strain)
QUESTIONABLE: F C.J. Sapong (concussion, fractured cheekbone)

As of Wednesday, Steven Vittoria was away from the team to be with his wife as the couple’s second child was about to be born. Jim Curtin said in his weekly press conference the “hope” was that Vittoria would be back in time for the KC game. Zach Pfeffer and Fred are both suspended for Sunday’s game.

If you haven’t done so, checkout Adam Cann’s excellent preview here at PSP. More previews at MLSsoccer.com and Brotherly Game.

At the Sporting KC website, a “by the numbers” look at the history between the two teams.

here at PSP.

The Inquirer and MLSGB on the Union’s hopes to turn things around in April.

In a ranking of the “proactivity” of MLS teams at American Soccer Analysis, the Union come in at No. 8.

Former Union man Freddy Adu was officially unveiled to the press on Thursday by his new club, Finland’s Kupion Palloseura. Adu says returning to the USMNT is “a goal” and that he still hasn’t been paid by his last club, Serbian side FK Jagodina, where he made one appearance as a substitute during a six-month spell with the team.

Union Academy

The Union Academy U-16s were scheduled to play Aspire Academy (Qatar) in a Generation adidas Cup placement game on Thursday but, as of this writing, no score has been posted on the tournament webpage at MLSsoccer.com, nor has a result been tweeted from the Academy Twitter account. Before Thursday’s scheduled game, the Union had finished third in Group C of the Champions Division with a 1-2 record.

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders are on the road again as they look to bounce back from last weekend’s season opening 5-2 loss in Pittsburgh. The team faces South Carolina’s Charleston Battery on Saturday at 7:30 pm (YouTube).

Harrisburg have released defender Coady Andrews, who had been with the team the last two seasons. Head coach Bill Becher said, “We tried to bring Coady back this season, but due to personal reasons he needed to be closer to home. We wish him nothing but the best.”

Harrisburg have signed former Lehigh University goalkeeper Ciaran Nugent. More at the Lehigh Athletics website.

Former Ocean City Nor’easter goalkeeper Keasel Broome has signed with New York Cosmos.

Junior Lone Star are traveling to Puerto Rico for four games, April 7-13, including a game against the Puerto Rico national team, as they prepare for the start of the NPSL season.

MLS

Seattle Sounders have waived forward Kenny Cooper and reports indicate interest from Montreal. He would surely be a fine addition to the Union but his 2014 salary of $265,625 is no doubt prohibitive.

Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey said of Cooper, “Would I have loved to trade a player rather than waive him and get nothing for him? Yes, I would prefer to trade him. But there was not a market we were able to explore. … Guys with big [salary] numbers are a little bit more challenging to move in the short term.”

Columbus have re-signed goalkeeper Steve Clark to a new contract.

Rafael van der Vaart has confirmed he is leaving Hamburg at the end of the season. Asked of his future plans, van der Vaart said, “Everything’s open at the moment, but I can imagine playing in America. I want to keep playing at a good level for a few years.”

US

The USWNT plays New Zealand in St. Louis on Saturday in a friendly (4 pm: Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Go). Some 32,000 tickets have been sold for the game so far, the first of four games for the USWNT before the start of the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

At SI, USWNT head coach Jill Ellis talks about her roster. More on the roster, which Ellis wants to trim to 23 before players return to their club teams to prepare for the NWSL season, at Soccer America.

Hope Solo said of her recent suspension, “I think the 30-day suspension was probably really good for me. I took time to myself, I did things I needed to do, I dealt with some issues I needed to deal with…It’s been very healing. It was a really healing 30 days, and not just those 30 days, but since then. It’s not like I did something in 30 days and stopped.

Abby Wambach says it’s “highly unlikely” she’ll play at the 2019 Women’s World Cup: “My body is slowing down and it’s time for the next generation to pick up where I leave off and hopefully they can keep the tradition and standard set very high.” Many would say it’s well past time for the next generation to take over the team.

ASN talks to USWNT defender Julie Johnston.

Leaked US 1st kit

At SI, Brian Straus on key developments from the USMNT’s March friendlies.

At Goal.com, Ives Galarcep includes former Union man Amobi Okugo on a list of five MLS players who are playing their way into a USMNT call-up: “The former Philadelphia Union midfielder might be flying under the radar, but he has been the glue holding the Orlando City midfield together through a promising first month in existence. Okugo is fifth in MLS in passes completed (182) and boasts the highest passing percentage in the league (89.22) among players in the top 30 in total passes.” SMH.

The US defeated Jamaica 7-2 on Thursday to advance to the semifinals of the CONCACAF beach soccer championship.

Images of a new US first kit are making the rounds. If the kit, of which presumably counterfeit copies can be bought for less than $17, is in fact the new first kit, it is yet more evidence that Nike needs to fire its design staff. Hopefully it’s just a late April Fools’ joke.

The latest Soccer History USA podcast is now available and looks at the origins and founding of the AMerican Soccer League, the first major professional league in the US, in 1921.

Elsewhere

Reuters reports, “Morocco can play in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers after the court of arbitration for sport (CAS) upheld ‘in large part’ their appeal against Confederation of African Football (CAF) sanctions.” You will recall that CAF banned Morocco from participating in the next two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations after it withdrew from hosting the 2015 tournament finals because of fears of Ebola. More at the AP.

ESPN reports, “Spanish police have arrested and charged a 17-year-old who wrote on Twitter that he was preparing to bomb this season’s Copa del Rey final.”

Checkout the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio for the upcoming week.

29 Comments

  1. How is a team that signed it’s most recent players as recent as a sneeze ago considered 8th in proactivify.

    • “A proactive team will attempt a higher number of shorter passes and should in theory have a higher percentage of backwards passes. A direct team will attempt longer passes in an effort to counterattack and will have less backward passes. “

  2. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    Stats prove out that the U bungled this whole thing with Okugo…. and that jersey is hot!

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      And Riberio… don’t forget they ruined that too. A “steal” at 15 in the draft (everyone said he was at least top 10 talent), left unprotected for Fabinho. I wrote it, it happened, but I still don’t honestly believe it.
      .
      Not sure how I feel about that US jersey. Need some time, and to see it on the field. I hated the new blue one at first, but seeing it on the field, it has grown on me.
      .
      I honestly can’t wait to watch this game Sunday. Seriously, I just have no clue what to expect. I am sure they won’t win, but just really curious to see what our intrepid manager does this week.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Talented midfielder/forward, with a nose for goal…and an ability to use his feet. Who needs that??? We’ve got___ and ___and___…
        .
        The kit definitely has a lot going on.
        .
        I’m going to watch Sunday’s match like a kid watches his first horror-flick. Through my fingers. It could be ugly. We will see what we have in Curtin. Another dud and this year, like years past, is history…and it’s only April.

  3. Really interesting ASN article, particularly this point:
    .
    “The implication is that commitment to an execution of a style of play, regardless of style, is a key contributor to success.”
    .
    Fascinating if it pans out after a bigger data set. The fact that the Union are ranked 8th should not be impressive, but rather a sign that they are middle of the pack (ie, no clear style) – exactly where the above statement predicts poor success.

  4. Can we please be a grown up team and have a real coach and front office?

  5. 4th largest sports and media market in the country and 2nd on the east coast being owned and operated like a 3rd rate outpost. The best news this fan base could hope to hear is that this franchise is being sold to a competent and financially competitive ownership willing to make this a premiere club worthy of a top market! Free this franchise from the feckless money ball clutches of Sugarman and Sakeiwicz!

    • agree with market-size discordance and love use of feckless but I fear its an insult to anyone attempting moneyball tactics to liken what Union are doing to the other’s good faith efforts. its’ not even moneyball-lite – even pseudo-moneyball seems too fair. maybe nomoneyball is the right descriptor.

      • +:)

      • Just a follow up. Taking what I used as moneyball was based on the way this ownership group is doing what they interpret as moneyball. So while I see your point, it distracts from the point with regards to the Union ownership. So I’ll use unionmoneyball:)

  6. “Okugo is fifth in MLS in passes completed (182) and boasts the highest passing percentage in the league (89.22) among players in the top 30 in total passes.” – – ah sh**, this is just painful Ed.

    • The Black Hand says:

      (Sigh)

    • I agree! Passing is one of Okugo pure skills and strengths. He must love being on a team where players can actually receive and handle passes, unlike the lead footed players the Union employ. The first touch on so-called starters on the Union bounce 5-10 feet away resulting in turn overs. No wonder Nogueira gets frustrated. Also too many player can’t run with the ball at their feet or pass with any accuracy yet they seem to always find away onto the Union roster. Danny Cruz is no longer here so we can’t use him as a scapegoat any more, however there are plenty of others. I blame ownership, front office and the coaching staff for having players with inadequate professional skills on this team.

    • Wendy, I can always rely on you to share in my dismay- shouldering some of this burden. Imagine Okugo that high up the list yet 3/4 of his touches are one touch- often times not even lateral one touches- often no look passes. Often times through a line of defense or switching field – the absolute definition of a pivote- but alas, he was just not THAT good. Edu is definitely better and oh so much more economical. Least we got someone to put on the billboards to lure the no brain casual soccer fan who follow MNT every 4 years. I feel better after that. Thank you.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I think that the main difference is: Amobi is young, green and loves the game. He has not been jaded by the higher levels and, therefore, been stagnated by the ego that comes along with it (he may, one day). Maurice Edu is a good player…but I don’t see the pure love of the game in his showings. I see a guy that thinks that he is better than he actually is..complete with the nose in the air jog, as if he has regal blood,,,and it’s a shame, because he HAD something. Okugo HAS that something. He has the drive, to be the type of player that can help his club…for that is the sign of a real footballer. Take Christiano, for example…GREAT player…gifted with skills that 99.9% of the world can only dream of…and we have. But…as a teammate, he is a wretched twat, with not a speck of loyalty the crest of his heart. He plays for himself…and it will be the thorn in Madrid’s side, as well as the one thing that keeps him from being truly great. Messi is similar, but he loves Barca and understands that the Blaugrana have made him the footballer that he is. He is Barca and Barca is him. Thats what will get him the title of ‘best to touch a football’ …while Christiano will be another name in the long list of incredible footballers, who just didn’t get ‘it’.
        .
        Amobi Okugo will never achieve those levels…but that won’t stop him from trying to be the best player that he can be. We don’t have enough of those types of players, on our club. Thats what makes me miss him the most!!
        .
        Dream and BE, Amobi. Be the best footballer that you can be.
        .
        .
        Drunken, Good Friday, rant over.

  7. FREE THIS FRANCHISE!! Sell it to a competent and finacially competitive owner! FREE THIS FRANCHISE!!

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      One day my friend. One day. This is Philadelphia. We have to go through hell to even have a shot at heaven. Think about it…

      • The truth hurts. 🙁 Until then every post will be ended with:

        FREE THIS FRANCHISE!!

  8. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Well, Marquez played for Harrisburg tonight. Taking the MLS injury report and the disciplinary suspensions, and assuming that Catic and Marquez will not be in KC because they were in Charleston, SC and played 90, counting Vitoria and Sapong, we will have eighteen players available.

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